Captain Spaulding's Cinematic Gutter

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Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
If there was ever anyone on here that needed to start up a reviews thread it was you Cap so very glad to see this





Cyborg
(Albert Pyun, 1989)


"First there was the collapse of civilization. Anarchy. Genocide. Starvation. Then, when it seemed things couldn't get any worse, we got the plague. The living death. Quickly closing its fist over the entire planet. And then we heard the rumors that the last scientists were working on a cure that would end the plague and restore the world. Restore it? Why? I like the death! I like the misery! I LIKE THIS WORLD!"

So says Fender, the stiff-walking, dreadlock-rocking, chainmail-wearing villain of Cyborg, in his opening voice-over narration of this 80's Van Damme vehicle from Cannon Films that mixes martial-arts with dystopian science-fiction. You'd be forgiven if, like me, you incorrectly assumed that this was a Terminator knock-off with Van Damme trying on the hardwired pecs of Ah-nuld. Instead, the titular cyborg is a woman (Dayle Haddon) carrying crucial information that could potentially lead to a cure for the aforementioned plague. Never mind her, though -- she's just a plot device. A reason to get from Point A to Point B. We're here to watch oiled-up, muscle-bound dudes roundhouse kick each other in the face. And, in that regard, Cyborg mostly delivers.



I'm tempted to give Cyborg a positive rating for two scenes alone. One features perhaps the greatest usage of Van Damme's trademark split, in which a hulking baddie creeps along a darkened sewer alleyway -- water sloshing, rain falling -- as Van Damme, trembling with orgasmic intensity, raises his weapon. The camera zooms out to reveal our hero suspended eight feet above the ground, legs split wide, waiting for the kill. Ominous music swells. Bad Guy stops, slowly looks up, screams. Instant death. The other highlight, in terms of ridiculous awesomeness, rivals Van Damme punching out a snake in Hard Target, as Cyborg; or, The Passion of the Damme, boasts an extended sequence of JCVD escaping crucifixion by kicking his way off the cross, thus in comparison making Jesus Christ look like a weak little bitch. If I was still of the Christian persuasion, I would've immediately renounced my faith and accepted the Muscles From Brussels as the one true Messiah.

Unfortunately, the rest of Cyborg doesn't quite stack up to the brilliance of those two scenes. Flashbacks (in which Van Damme sports one of the worst wigs ever) seem to occur every five minutes, constantly interrupting the film's momentum. Action is poorly shot, involving too many cuts and close-ups. The script lacks structure. The score is often intrusive. Van Damme himself is more wooden than usual, delivering his lines as if he doesn't yet understand English, although his dialogue is kept to a minimum. I wish I could say the same for his arch-nemesis, who slathers way too much evil sauce on every word and action, constantly grunting and huffing when he isn't over-enunciating. At least he cuts an imposing figure, a trait further aided by his icy blue stare. For some unexplainable reason everyone is named after the manufacturers of musical instruments (for example, Gibson Rickenbacker, Fender Tremelo, Marshall Strat, etc). Performances from the supporting cast are flatter than a five-year-old's chest. The small budget allots for only a couple science-fiction-style special-effects.



I wish I had been introduced to this film in my youth, back when I regularly devoured every Van Damme offering from the video store. I doubt Cyborg would've been a favorite, but I know that ten-year-old me would've gotten more enjoyment from it. After all, even if Van Damme doesn't yet display the charisma of later efforts, he's still undeniably cool and bad ass in every scene, and Cyborg gives him plenty of opportunities to exhibit those educated fists and feet. (I forgot to mention that his boots are equipped with retractable blades, which is f**king bodacious; although the cast member who lost an eye to one of Van Damme's blades and sued his ass afterwards probably doesn't share my enthusiasm.) The movie looks better than its budget. The utilization of abandoned industrial buildings does wonders for the post-apocalyptic setting. The costumes, even if they were likely raided from the The Road Warrior, are top notch. The big battle at the end is overblown in the best way. There's plenty to like about Cyborg, and it's a quick, fun, action-filled venture into the wasteland, but some of its most glaring flaws -- namely those god-awful flashbacks -- sully the good points just a tad too much for me.


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Time to Split












(. . . I can't feel my nuts anymore.)



I mostly feel the same way about Cyborg but it's been quite a few years since I saw it the last time.

Also Albert Pyun is/was one of the better B-movie directors. I've seen quite a few of his films and he manages to make them quite nice looking for the budget and he has his own unique style (I'm talking about his older films, btw, I'm not sure if I've seen anything from this century). The Sword and The Sorcerer and Nemesis at least are kinda decent trash (and if you're into naked women bodybuilder's you might want to check Nemesis 2).



I know I saw Cyborg many years ago and I vividly remember the scene you mention with him poised on high ready to pounce but I'll be darned if I can remember anything else about it (including the other scene you describe)
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Setsuko Hara is my co-pilot
Cyborg? I remember when I was like 6 and it was aired on TV at like midnight and I begged my mum to let me watch it (even though it was marked as "adults only"). She agreed, but I fell asleep within the first 30 minutes of the film.





The Funhouse Massacre
(Andy Palmer, 2015)


The Funhouse Massacre (no relation to Tobe Hooper's 1981 The Funhouse) is a gory, cheesy, funny, better-than-advertised, tongue-in-cheek throwback to 80's horror. The set-up sees a Harley Quinn knock-off free her cult-leader daddy, along with several other murderous psychopaths, from a mental asylum run by Freddy Krueger. After which, the group of escapees -- a Slasher Suicide Squad, of sorts --- infiltrate a nearby funhouse that has been themed specifically around their grisly crimes, allowing the psychopaths to simulate their pre-asylum g(l)ory days on unsuspecting patrons. Oh, and it's Halloween, so there's plenty of potential victims.

The Funhouse Massacre features a ton of characters. This allows for a high death count, but it also means disappointingly little screen time for some of the most memorable characters, such as the sadistic dentist and the human taxidermist (played with demented glee by Clint Howard). Characters are drawn in the broadest of strokes. Normally a flaw, I'd argue that the abundance of stereotypes actually works in the film's favor since it allows viewers to easily differentiate the robust cast by their one distinguishable trait. There's the dim-witted deputy, the hard-edged sheriff with a contrived connection to a couple of the psychopaths, the jock with herpes, the slutty Asian in her slutty Hilary Clinton costume, the obligatory stoners, the easily frightened Hispanic, the geek with a crush, and so on. The best kills belong to Rocco the Clown, a mountain of a man who used to moonlight as an underground wrestler and kill his opponents in the ring. All he has to do is facepalm a motherf**ker, squeeze his fingers, and their face peels off in his hand like skin from a rotisserie chicken.

Characters routinely manage one last quip before their final breath. That jokey tone might turn off some viewers, but The Funhouse Massacre's refusal to take itself too seriously helps to hide its most notable flaws, such as a few poor performances, a lack of originality, and a handful of noticeable goofs (that is, unless cadavers are supposed to flinch at loud noises). There are a few groaners (an early Abbot & Costello-style Doctor Who joke was painfully unfunny), but I found myself chuckling at most of the dumb humor. The gore is splattery and plentiful. The pace is fast. Villains are colorful. Everyone involved with the making of the film seems to be having a blast. If you enjoy cheesy, retro horror, you should enjoy The Funhouse Massacre.





That's what I get for not paying attention to hardly any new(ish) movie releases these days, missing out on movies like THE FUNHOUSE MASSACRE! Plus it knocks out Wolfcop, Roadie, and Cyborg as KING of the Gutter, by Spaulding-o-Meter, so far. Scary killer clown girl looks spicy. A look at that Rocco the Clown guy BWHAM

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Is it just me, or is the forum moving slow as bramble molasses cement lately as far as activity at times? Gonna go ahead and re-post this video (that I previously deleted in here) I made several months ago, not bc I want to pull attention away from @Captain Spaulding 's movies, but to shake things up. It is a draft for a film project I was considering advancing. Plus it fits here, I think.


Actually, what the heck, I'll break the unwritten no two videos per post rule, and another I made earlier this year for a job application to the company Grandin Road, who sells Halloween decor. They didn't hire me, yet here I am promoting them- bastards. We could come up with better decor than them anyways, BAH.




Is it just me, or is the forum moving slow as bramble molasses cement lately as far as activity at times?
Yeah, it is slow. The activities right now are long ones that's what she said.

I want to start something soon requiring writers creating scenarios, and actors winging it further, like a progressive story crossed with a soap opera. Hopefully trashy as ****.

So that's what that Gradin Road thing was. I saw the video before but had no idea what it was for. I had assumed it was for a local band.



Oh my god, just randomly stumbled over and watched an excellent offering for your thread.

I'll say no more until I say something.





White Dog
Samuel Fuller
1982


I have no idea why I've never heard of this movie. It wasn't until today's desperate search for entertainment while immobilised under two cats that I stumbled over it, and just decided to cast it to my tv. The cover looked like standard dog-bites-man type of thing and I felt like a bit of that. Why not? Even if it's ****, at least some throats would be ripped out, right?

The first thing that struck me was the opening theme, very recognisably Morricone, and that excited me. He has the power to elevate pretty much anything. I also liked the grey white-to-black opening titles. And then the movie itself.

It tells the story of a young actress who lives alone in the hills, who one day after accidentally hitting a white German shepherd with her car, pretty much gets saddled with the thing. Pretty soon he earns his pay, by saving her from an attacker in her home. But there's something not quite right about the dog. He's gorgeous, and cute as ****, but not the biggest fan of black people.

She takes him to be rehabilitated as everyone's advising her to put him down, that one day he'll turn on her, that he's not to be trusted. But she decides his life is worth saving -- after all, he did save hers.

The rest of the movie plays out almost like a weird cross between a low key blaxpoitation movie and a spaghetti western, as the rehabilitation is done by an animal trainer, a black guy, and we're just missing a third pair of eyes for that classic Sergio Leone-style stare down close-up. Morricone's backing drives that feeling on. Fantastic dog acting, by the way. There were a few dogs' names listed in the end credits, one was named Folsom.

It's an engaging films that's actually quite poignant. It's going to stay with me for a while.

You got a four-legged time bomb!




Very cool videos, @Nostromo87! Got me feeling all Halloween-y. I especially like the carnival theme in the first video. The local fair is in town right now. I wasn't planning on attending, but now I kinda want put on my clown make-up and go cause some havoc there tomorrow night after watching your video. Sadly, all the cool stuff is gone nowadays, like the freak shows and whatnot. I guess they're considered inappropriate in today's PC climate? Still, just the smell of cotton candy and funnel cakes and the lights of the rides and the sounds of kids screaming and carnies shouting at people to play their games makes for an enticing environment.

I'm especially looking forward to later in the month when I can start checking out some haunted houses and whatnot. What does the Nostromo typically do for Halloween? Put on the Ghostface and make prank phone calls? Hand out cans of Miller Lite to trick-or-treaters?



Thanks for contributing to the gutter, @cat_sidhe! Much appreciated. White Dog is a great film. Criminally underrated/underseen. The metaphor may be blunt, but it's very effective. I've only seen the film once so far, but I think it has the potential to become a favorite with repeated viewings. It's definitely one of the most interesting (and unlikely) additions to the Criterion Collection.

You might like Baxter (1989) as well, a French film that's told from the perspective of a murderous bull terrier in search of the perfect master, whom he eventually finds in a young sociopathic boy who idolizes Hitler. I don't think it's as strong of a film as White Dog, but it's worth checking out.




Thanks for contributing to the gutter, @cat_sidhe! Much appreciated. White Dog is a great film. Criminally underrated/underseen. The metaphor may be blunt, but it's very effective. I've only seen the film once so far, but I think it has the potential to become a favorite with repeated viewings. It's definitely one of the most interesting (and unlikely) additions to the Criterion Collection.

You might like Baxter (1989) as well, a French film that's told from the perspective of a murderous bull terrier in search of the perfect master, whom he eventually finds in a young sociopathic boy who idolizes Hitler. I don't think it's as strong of a film as White Dog, but it's worth checking out.

Haven't heard of this one either, but considering the very first movie I ever remember seeing was The Pack, I think I'm positively predisposed to violent dog films.
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Very cool videos, @Nostromo87! Got me feeling all Halloween-y. I especially like the carnival theme in the first video. The local fair is in town right now. I wasn't planning on attending, but now I kinda want put on my clown make-up and go cause some havoc there tomorrow night after watching your video. Sadly, all the cool stuff is gone nowadays, like the freak shows and whatnot. I guess they're considered inappropriate in today's PC climate? Still, just the smell of cotton candy and funnel cakes and the lights of the rides and the sounds of kids screaming and carnies shouting at people to play their games makes for an enticing environment.

I'm especially looking forward to later in the month when I can start checking out some haunted houses and whatnot. What does the Nostromo typically do for Halloween? Put on the Ghostface and make prank phone calls? Hand out cans of Miller Lite to trick-or-treaters?
I mainly started to love Halloween SINCE joining MovieForums, probably due to some fun movie viewings in a previous house I lived in on the lake that I talked about in my Slash Vault post for A Nightmare On Elm Street. Loved the Holiday as a kid, but didn't exactly start to love it again until joining here, truthfully. But there were viewings other than that Nightmare one that packed the atmosphere and pulled me into the Halloween aura. In fact I don't even think I first watched that one during All Hallow's Eve time. Black Sunday is a better example, the Mario Bava Italian horror flick starring Barbara Steele. Turn all the lights off, burn some candles, enjoy some frosty crisp brewage. Mixed in with that would be bonfires by the lake with a few friends, or my dad. All that mixed together made for a good time, and it was just cool living on a lake like that. Like living at Camp Crystal Lake.

I live in a new city now though. And actually all my home-movie viewing setup is in storage, as I'm looking to get an apartment pretty soon. But this year I'll probably hit up the Oktoberfest celebration, and there are some haunted houses and various other activities as well. Checked out a website and saw various Zombie hunts, haunted trails, haunted mazes, I'll have to refresh my memory with a closer look. Could be worth checking out and looking into. Strangely I'm not really as involved DEEP in the Halloween vibe right now, like I was a few years ago with the MoFo 2015 Halloween Thread. And I had a possible 2018 Halloween viewing schedule, that would've been FUN, but my thoughts and curiosities are taking me to different and new places. I likely will go see the new Halloween movie though. And it will help when I get settled into my new apartment and have all my home-movie back setup.

What about you @Captain Spaulding ? Be excellent to hear about your fair outing if you go, although they do seem pretty streamlined now. Thinking about that reminds me of a Halloween festival I went to with a friend YEARS ago when I was in 5th grade or so. It was at a local high school, run by the students, and that would've been around the time the first Scream films were coming out. Generally I recall various haunted houses and horror-style entertainments, but there were also games, challenges, and activities. I didn't realize it at the time, but that may be really the source of where my love for horror films started. Without even knowing what it was at the time, I probably heard many of the great horror musical themes in those haunted houses, and likely saw some of the high school students inside dawning iconic horror garb.
@cat_sidhe as well, I'd like to hear. And anyone else reading of course.




Halloween was never a big deal to me as a kid. I've lived in rural areas most of my life, where neighbors are spread far apart, so I only remember trick-or-treating twice as a kid. I've never lived in a house that received trick-or-treaters, either. I think it'd be fun to rig something up that would scare a bunch of little kids that come to the front door, but I prefer living in less populated areas, so I'll probably never experience that thrill. I've noticed over the years that I don't even seem to watch as many horror movies in October as I do in other months. I guess because everybody else is watching them, like with this Halloween Watch-a-Thon going on right now. Apparently it's ingrained in my DNA to always go against the flow. Besides, horror should be a year-round thing. Why focus on them for only one month of the year?

I usually get together with friends and visit Scarowinds, which is a theme park in Charlotte that gets a Halloween make-over every year. That's usually a fun time and the haunted mazes are fairly elaborate. That's probably the extent of my Halloween plans. Growing up, there was this place out in the boonies, called the Haunted Pyramids, that was built on a dude's property who used to be a special-effects man. I think he had worked on Children of the Corn and one of the Hellraiser movies, along with some other stuff. That was the go-to spot back in high school. Genuinely creepy, well-designed haunted houses, with employees chasing after people with roaring chainsaws. Being located off in the woods in the middle of nowhere made the experience even more frightening.

There was a time when I was really into ghost-hunting shows, before it became obvious to me that all those shows are a crock of sh*t, and me and a couple buddies used to look up places online that were rumored to be haunted that were also within reasonable driving distance. It was something we did randomly throughout the year, but more so around October. Old abandoned churches, schools that had burned down, creepy bridges where people had supposedly died . . . places like that. Head out somewhere in the middle of the night with just some flashlights and a digital camera. Walk around, talk to the air, take pictures, hoping that we'd experience something paranormal. We never did, of course, but it was always a thrill. Especially because we were usually trespassing on private property, so there was a risk of getting caught, along with jumping at every noise or thinking that we'd seen something only for it to be some animal. I was always more worried about getting shot or sodomized by some random hillbilly than stumbling across a ghostly figure.